'Undoubtedly the best examples of South African Cabernet now display more purity of fruit and better tannin management than they have for a long time. It equates to greater precision in both vineyard and cellar: plant material has improved, grapes increasingly seem to be picked at optimum ripeness, the fermentation and macerations are less violent, and the use of oak is more judicious. By virtue of the South African sun, concentration is a given, but there’s now greater balance too.' Christian Eedes
Starke Conde Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 - 96/100
'American-born José Conde and team make various versions of Cabernet Sauvignon, including the premium, essentially single-vineyard Three Pines, and this one, which might equally be considered an estate blend: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 4% Petite Sirah, 2% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc. It comes across as seamless, providing a sense of both poise and tightness. Red and black berries, violets and some leafiness plus a little reduction on the nose, while the palate shows pure fruit, bright acidity and firm but fine tannins.'
Restless River Main Road and Dignity Cabernet Sauvignon - 93/100
'When current owner-winemaker Craig Wessels first acquired this property – in an area famed for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – he was advised to pull up the Cabernet Sauvignon vines. He decided not to, and this wine is now very fine – albeit in a lighter, fresher style than you might typically expect from Stellenbosch. This 2016 vintage shows particular intricacy.'